PROFILE: Egyptian new PM Hisham Kandil
After weeks of speculation, Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi on Tuesday appointed Hisham Kandil as his new prime minister, in a move that surprised many observers.
Kandil was minister of irrigation and water resources in the interim government of Kamal El-Ganzouri.
President Morsi met Kandil at the presidential palace on Sunday but his chances of being offered the premiership were dismissed by many observers, who said he was too young and lacking in political experience.
However, the water and irrigation engineer with a PhD from the University of North Carolina, appears to fit the criteria specified by leading members of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).
Abdallah Shehata, a senior member of the FJP, told Ahram Online last week that the new prime minister should be under 60-years-old, should believe in the Islamic project but not belong to any political group, should have experience in public administration and a solid background in economics.
Kandil, who was born in 1962, describes himself as a religious man who has never belonged to an Islamist group.
He served as a senior irrigation engineer at the African Development Bank and was part of the Nile Basin Initiative launched in 1999 to develop the river in a cooperative manner.
On 15 July Kandil travelled with President Morsi to the African Union summit in Ethiopia. The trip sought to rekindle Cairo's relationship with its African neighbours after years of neglect under former president Hosni Mubarak.
Improving Egypt's relationship with the Nile Basin countries is one of President Morsi's priorities, according to his presidential programme.
Kandil was appointed minister of irrigation and water resources by then-PM Esam Sharaf in July 2011, and was later asked by Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri to continue in his post in November of the same year.
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Ministers in Prime Minister Hisham Qandil's cabinet following the recent reshuffle (new appointees are in italics): 1. Minister of Agriculture Ahmed Mahmoud Ali El-Gizawi2. Minister of Antiquities Ahmed Eissa3. Minister of Aviation Wael Maadawi4. Minister of Communication Atef Helmy5. Minister of Culture
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